“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;” 1 Timothy 1:12
My heart is full today.
I feel blessed far beyond what I deserve.
Last night, at our home church, 18 men gathered around me for several hours to encourage me, bless me, lay their hands on me, and ordain me into the Gospel ministry. These men have had, collectively, hundreds of years in the ministry. I was so humbled to be surrounded by these giants of the faith, and to hear of their recognition of God’s hand in my life.
I would like to thank the following men for not only having a part in my ordination, but for investing in my life. God has used you!
- Charles Blackstock — My pastor and close mentor and friend. (over 30 years of ministry)
- Carl Braswell — Church planter for years and now missionary with Macedonia World Baptist Missions. (over 50 years of ministry)
- Jeff Bush — Missionary to Argentina and now Director of Vision Baptist Missions. (over 10 years of ministry)
- Robert Canfield — Assistant pastor at Vision Baptist Church. (about 5 years of ministry)
- Trent Cornwell — Assistant pastor at Vision Baptist Church. (about 7 years of ministry)
- Mark Coffey — Missionary to South Africa with Vision Baptist Missions. (about 10 years of ministry)
- Austin Gardner — Close mentor and friend. Pastor of Vision Baptist Church and missionary to Peru for many years. (almost 40 years of ministry)
- David Gates — Close friend and missionary to Egypt with Macedonia World Baptist Missions. (about 5 years of ministry)
- Alfonso Gonzalez — My assistant while I pastored the Spanish church in GA, now pastor of Iglesia Bautista El Faro. (about 3 years of ministry)
- Kevin Hall — Missionary to South Africa with Vision Baptist Missions. (about 10 years of ministry)
- Brandon Mayes — Missionary to China and now Deputation Director for Macedonia World Baptist Missions. (about 15 years of ministry)
- Rex McPherson — Missionary in Wales and now Pastor of Galilean Baptist Church. (about 30 years of ministry)
- Larry Monroe — Pastored for many years now assistant pastor at my home church. (about 20 years of ministry)
- Cory Sexton — Friend for years and now pastor of The Church at Hoschton. (about 10 years of ministry)
- Donald Swaim — My grandfather and missionary to Mexico and US hispanics with BIMI. (about 30 years of ministry)
- Richard Vance — My dad and missionary printer with Macedonia World Baptist Missions. (about 18 years of ministry)
- Thurman Wade — Pastor for several years, now Director of Macedonia World Baptist Missions. (about 50 years of ministry)
- Frank Whitmire — Pastor for several years, now assistant pastor at my home church. (about 30 years of ministry)
For years, I have seen God do great things over and over again in my life, and I’m constantly reminded that it’s not about me… it’s all about HIM! I’m just an earthen vessel, he’s the real treasure. Knowing this humbles me. It is an honor to serve the King of Kings. It is a privilege that God would see it fit to put me in ministry. It is a joy to be his voice in this world.
I want to also express my love and gratitude for the one that is by my side — that is, my wife, Aubrie. There’s no one else that has loved me more, encouraged me more, inspired me more, helped me more and will ever be with me more than her. Ministry can come and go, but she will be with me until the end. I tell you, God has been super good to this ol’ boy!
Recently a good friend and one of my mentors, Austin Gardner, began a podcast on leadership. It has quickly become one of the things I look forward to most each week! I encourage you, if you are in any type of Christian leadership role or desire to be some day, check it out! It will be a great investment of your time. Each week for 10-20 minutes you will hear loads of practical & biblical advice. This is one of those things that will be invaluable in ministry.
You can check the website above for updates each week or subscribe for free in iTunes by clicking here.
The Spanish podcast, which is also helpful and sometimes deals with different issues, can be found here.
- It has been North Carolina week for us!
- Started out this week’s meetings at Community Baptist Church in Siler City, NC for their Missions Sunday.
- I was blown away by the generosity and heart of this dear church. It’s exciting to see people who love Jesus and His mission
- I preached and presented our ministry in Sunday School, then a director from BIMI (another mission board) preached the main service.
- This man is a member of the church near Chattanooga that I went to as a child! It’s crazy how time flies… I remember him well.
- Sunday evening I preached and presented our ministry at Pleasant Plains Baptist in Apex, NC.
- What a fine group of faithful people. It was a joy to be there and meet these folks.
- Wednesday I was privileged to be with the people of Temple Baptist in Mount Airy, NC
- (This is the “Mayberry” of the Andy Griffith Show) — It was cool to stroll around town while in the area.
- After the service here, they, along with 2 others this week, expressed their interest and plan to take us on for support. Praise God!
- Also, God met a huge need through an unlikely source. I’ve been without a computer for a little while, and a young man said God laid it on his heart to buy me one with some extra money he had. What a huge blessing! Thank you Joseph.
- I think it’s easy to feel spoiled as a missionary. We’re way blessed beyond what we deserve, that’s for sure.
- Video to consider: Do You Suffer From D.I.M.S.?
A few pictures from the week…
I was doing some studying today for a message and came across this amazing quote tucked away in a reference book on my shelf. This brought a tear to my eye and an awe in my outlook of who our great Savior is! Enjoy…
Christ In Every Book
“Christ is the theme of the entire Revelation of God. He is promised in Genesis, revealed in the Law, prefigured in its history, praised in poetry, proclaimed in its prophecy, provided in its Gospels, proved in its Acts, preeminent in its Epistles and prevailing in Revelation.
He is seen in every book of the Bible. Take a journey through the Halls of Holy Writ and in every one of them you will see Christ.
GENESIS He is the Seed of the woman;
EXODUS the Lamb for sinners slain;
LEVITICUS, our High Priest;
NUMBERS the Star of Jacob and the Brazen Serpent;
DEUTERONOMY the Prophet like unto Moses and the Great Rock;
JOSHUA the Captain of the Lord’s Hosts;
JUDGES the Messenger of Jehovah;
RUTH our Kinsman-Redeemer and the Faithful Bridegroom;
1 SAMUEL He is seen as the Great Judge;
2 SAMUEL as the Princely King;
I KINGS David’s Choice;
2 KINGS as the Holiest of All;
1 CHRONICLES as King by birth;
2 CHRONICLES as King by Judgment;
EZRA He is seen as Lord of heaven and earth;
NEHEMIAH as the builder;
ESTHER our Mordecai;
JOB our Daysman and our Risen, returning Redeemer;
PSALMS the Son of God and the Good Shepherd;
PROVERBS our Wisdom;
ECCLESIASTIES the One above the sun;
SONG OF SOLOMON the great Church lover, the one Altogether Lovely and Chiefest among ten thousand;
ISAIAH He is the suffering and glorified Servant;
JEREMIAH the Lord our Righteousness;
LAMENTATIONS the Man of Sorrows;
EZEKIEL the glorious God;
DANIEL the Smiting Stone and the Messiah;
HOSEA reveals Him as the risen Son of God;
JOEL the outpourer of the Spirit;
AMOS the Eternal Christ;
OBADIAH, the Forgiving Christ;
JONAH as the Risen Prophet;
MICAH the Bethlehemite;
NAHUM He is the Bringer of Good Tidings;
HABAKKUK the Lord in His Holy Temple;
ZEPHANIAH the Merciful Christ;
HAGGAI, the Desire of all nations;
ZECHARIAH, the Branch;
and MALACHI, the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings.
MATTHEW shows Him as King of the Jews;
MARK the Servant;
LUKE the Perfect Son of Man;
JOHN the Son of God;
ACTS the Ascended Lord;
ROMANS the Lord our Righteousness;
I CORINTHIANS our Resurrection;
2 CORINTHIANS our Comforter;
GALATIANS the end of the Law;
EPHESIANS the head of the Church;
PHILIPPIANS the Supplier of every need;
COLOSSIANS the Fullness of the Godhead;
I THESSALONIANS He comes for His Church;
2 THESSALONIANS He comes with His Church;
I TIMOTHY He is the Mediator;
2 TIMOTHY the Bestower of Crowns;
TITUS Our Great God and Savior;
PHILEMON the Payer of our Debt;
HEBREWS the rest of the Faith and the Fulfiller of Types;
JAMES, the Lord drawing nigh;
1 PETER the Vicarious Sufferer;
2 PETER the Lord of Glory;
I JOHN the Way;
2 JOHN the Truth;
3 JOHN the Life;
JUDE, He is Our Security;
• the Lion of the Tribe of Judah,
• the Lamb of God,
• the Bright and Morning Star,
• the King of kings and Lord of lords.”
(Robert J. Wells, Prophetic Messages
for Modern Times; Dallas; Texas Printing House, Inc., 1944; pp. 205, 206)
I was 15 years old, nervous, excited, and desperately wanting God to work through me. It was a Saturday night Youth Revival at a small church in Flowery Branch, Georgia, and it would be my first time preaching.
After weeks of reading, studying, praying, fasting and begging God to do something great, the night came. I preached for 23 minutes about Daring to be a Daniel. I think I preached through about the entire book of Daniel before we finished. 🙂 One young man came forward and dedicated his life to Christ. It was worth it!
That was 10 years ago. God has opened so many doors since then and it has been such a joy preaching His Word. There’s nothing greater than knowing Christ and making Him known!
By God’s grace, He has allowed me to preach around 750 or 800 times in nursing homes, rescue missions, chapel services, mission churches around the world, our Spanish church, and now on deputation at churches across the country. I’m not worthy, but praise the Lamb, HE is!!
Over the past 10 years I’ve learned a few things, and I’m still trying to learn each day. Here are a few things God has taught me:
1. It’s not me, but it is Christ that can change lives!
“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:5-7
2. The Bible text should be the central focus of the message, not my fancy outline!
“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:26-28
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
3. God’s word will not return void!
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
4. The message must first be preached to me!
“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” 1 Peter 5:1-4
So, 10 years have passed and unless Christ returns soon, I look forward to many, many more years of preaching and enjoying every opportunity He gives me to bring forth the Word of Life! I wouldn’t trade it for anything. He is worthy!